We are very excited to introduce our newest sponsor, Bella Luna Toys, and specifically Sarah Baldwin; owner and Waldorf educator. In keeping with our philosophy of offering sponsorships to shops that reflect the values of Wee Folk Art, we can honestly say we would be delighted to own ANYTHING Sarah offers at Bella Luna Toys. We thought it would be great fun to interview Sarah so we all got to know her a little better.
If you are a Waldorf parent, you will find Sarah to be a kindred spirit. If you’re not quite sure what Waldorf is all about, Sarah does a wonderful job of sharing the basic philosophies and how they impact education and home. I am grateful that Sarah has taken the time to share her extensive expertise with us, and I know I am a little wiser after reading the interview.
Make sure you take the time to not only read this delightful interview, but to make your way over to Bella Luna Toys, and take a look around. I spoke to Sarah several days ago, and as the new owner, she has big plans. Over the next few months you can expect to see a new look to the website, and the addition of many wonderful toys. And, oh yes… I almost forgot… we talked about a super Give Away that is sure to excite all Wee Folk Art readers. You’ll hear about that in a couple of weeks. Yay! For the time being, grab a hot beverage, a few quite moments, and enjoy getting to know Sarah. I know I did! If you have another question for Sarah, just post it in the comments and she’ll answer it as soon as possible.
Kimara: In a nutshell, what distinguishes a Waldorf classroom from a more traditional educational environment?
Sarah: There are so many facets and layers to Waldorf education that it is nearly impossible to describe it in a neat, tidy package, even though I am frequently asked to do so! Since I am an early childhood teacher, I will highlight three of the key elements that distinguish a Waldorf early childhood classroom from that of a more mainstream preschool.
• A homelike environment with an emphasis on natural materials
A Waldorf kindergarten is typically furnished to look much like a home, with silk curtains, wool rugs, a rocking chair and wooden tables and chairs. Teachers consciously choose playthings for the classroom that will nourish a young child’s senses, and sheathe them in beauty. Toys found in the classroom are made from natural fiber and materials to nourish a young child’s senses.
• Real work for a real purpose
Waldorf teachers model meaningful, purposeful work in the classroom by engaging in activities such as cooking, cleaning, baking, sewing or knitting. Outdoors, teachers may be found raking, gardening, filling bird feeders or shoveling snow. Out of imitation, children engage in, and help with, all these activities. The children are learning real life skills, as they become confident and capable helpers.
• Imagination and Play
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, emphasized the importance of the imagination in childhood, and Waldorf educators believe that imaginative play is the key to creative thinking later in life. In a Waldorf early childhood classroom, ample time is allowed each day for unstructured, imaginative play without a lot of adult interference. This is when an observer might see children becoming cats and mice; witness tea parties in the play kitchen; boys and girls building large structures out of Waldorf wooden playstands draped with large silks; building with stumps and natural tree blocks; and other children donning capes and crowns to become princesses and princes. One might say that free play is the heart of a Waldorf kindergarten morning.
To read the remainder of Sarah’s insightful interview, click HERE!